EXCLUSIVE: Network18 reporter allegedly told to drop interview with Justice Abhay Thipsay on Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case, channel denies

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Justice Abhay Thipsay on Wednesday said that the way some high-profile accused were discharged in fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, the “absurd” inconsistencies in the legal process, signs of witnesses under pressure or threat, evidence of “mischief” — all pointed to the “failure of justice and of the justice delivery system.”

Justice Abhay Thipsay

Justice Thipsay, who retired as judge from Bombay High Court in March last year, told Indian Express that Bombay High Court must exercise its powers of revision, even suo-motu if necessary, to relook at the case. Justice (retd) Thipsay’s remarks assumed significance in light of the discharge of former IPS officer DG Vanzara and Dinesh MN by a CBI court last year.

“You believe that he (Shaikh) was abducted. You also believe that it was a fake encounter. You also believe that he was illegally kept in the farmhouse. And you don’t believe that Vanzara (then DIG Gujarat), Dinesh M N (then Rajasthan SP), or Rajkumar Pandiyan (then Gujarat SP) are involved in that. How could the constabulary or inspector-level officers have any contact with him (Shaikh)? You mean to say a sub-inspector abducted him (Shaikh) from Hyderabad and brought him to a different state? When, on the basis of the same material, you say that there is no case against the SPs (Pandiyan, Dinesh). So the suspicion is that superior officers have been treated differently,” he told Indian Express.

Justice (Retd) Thipsay’s comments also came at a time when there’s intense spotlight on the mysterious death of Judge BH Loya, who was presiding over the Sohrabuddin murder case in the CBI court.

As expected, reporters from the TV channels rushed to Justice Thipsay’s house for interviews. They included reporters from ABP News, CNNNews18 and NDTV among others. While other journalists were quick to file their video interviews back to their head offices in Noida’s Film City, one reporter was visibly dejected after the assignment desk of the channel refused to take the interview. ABP News and NDTV were two channels where the interview with Justice (retd) Thipsay was broadcast in full.

According to sources in the assignment desk of News18 group, the channel’s reporter was bluntly told that the interview with Thipsay was not required.

The source on the assignment desk said, “It was a big interview and we had the judge on camera talking to us on his sensational assessment. But, the reporter was bluntly told that the interview wouldn’t be broadcast without giving any reasons. The reporter also pleaded that the decision to run or drop the interview is of the channel management, but the assignment desk should at least take the feed. But the reporter’s argument was shot down.”

When contacted, Bhupendra Chaubey, a senior editor with the CNN-News18 and who anchors the channel’s flagship show every night, said that there was no truth in the reports adding that the group had not sent any reporter to interview Justice Thipsay.

After we received the response from Chaubey, we once again contacted our source on the News18’s assignment desk. The source said that there was no truth in Chaubey’s claims adding that the group had sent two reporters, one each from the Hindi and English channel.

Not so long ago, the CBI court hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case had banned media reporting of the trial proceedings. However, the High Court had later overturned the decision. Justice Thipsay (retd) had ruled at least in four bail applications in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

 

 

 

 

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